Billy Donovan Won’t Guarantee Return To Florida Next Season, Says The NBA Intrigues Him

It’s not time for Florida to start looking for a new men’s basketball coach, but it might be soon.

Each offseason, it seems as if Billy Donovan is rumored as a potential candidate for an NBA job. And every year, Donovan blows off the league and returns to Gainesville. The rumors are present once again, only this time, they might hold some serious weight. 

Donovan has admitted that he has been in contact with some NBA teams. He declined to say which teams, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of Donovan’s potential suitors.

Speaking at the Southeastern Conference’s annual spring meetings Tuesday, Donovan said he is committed to Florida but will not “guarantee” a return to Gainesville for next season. 

“I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you’re going to be, that’s not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn’t want (people) saying, ‘Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record,’” Donovan said. “I just think when you start doing that, that’s a mistake.”

Donovan briefly left Florida once before, accepting the head coach position with the Orlando Magic in July 2007. After realizing he had made a mistake, he returned to coach the Gators a few days later. 

Could he leave for the NBA again?

“All I can say is I love Florida, I’m happy here … the school’s been great to me,” he said. “But at the same point, some of the NBA stuff, as I’ve said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways — the basketball part of it. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy here; that’s not the case at all.

“But when people start getting into forecasting where they’re going to be or what they’re going to do, and I’ve seen a lot of coaches over the years come out and say, ‘No, no, no, no, I’m not going anywhere, I’m not going anywhere,’ and then all of a sudden they go somewhere, and it’s like, ‘Well, this guy is a complete liar.’ I don’t want to get into that situation. There’s been some teams that have called, but that’s really it.”

Donovan currently has four years left on his deal. He recently signed an three-year extension that raised his annual salary to $3.7 million. 



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Andrew Holleran is an editor at College Spun.